Learn how to decorate a Christmas tree the easy way with this step-by-step tutorial!
Do you kind of dread getting out your Christmas tree and decorating it every year? I’ll have to admit it’s not a job I particularly like to do, but I do love the tree once it’s up and decorated! Over the years I’ve figured out some tips and tricks for decorating a Christmas tree, and today I’m sharing them with you!
How To Decorate A Christmas Tree
Step 1: Fluff
This first step mainly applies to those of us with artificial trees, but you might need to do a little fluffing of your real tree branches too. The branches of our tree get pretty smushed when we pack it away in our basement closet every year, so I fluff them out once we’ve assembled the tree.
Fill any bare spots in the tree by adjusting the branches. I like to start at the bottom of tree and adjust the branches starting from the inside out. Separate the branches and angle them out from the center of the tree.
Step 2: Lights
If you’re lucky, you have a pre-lit tree. If you’re REALLY lucky, all of the lights on your pre-lit tree work when you plug them in! We have a pre-lit Christmas tree that’s a few years old. Maybe 10 years old. Last year when I set up the tree and plugged it in one strand of the lights didn’t work, so I added a strand of lights.
When we assembled the tree this year and plugged it in, we weren’t so lucky. More of the lights aren’t working. UGH!
Back to the store I went to buy more strands of lights. In total I added four extra strands of lights to fill in where the lights weren’t working. I bought lights with green wires because we have a green tree, if you’re tree is white, then use lights with white wires.
A good guideline for how many lights to have on your tree is about 100 lights for every foot of tree. Try not to connect too many strands of lights together. I usually connect two together and then plug them into an extension cord. A brown or green extension cord will blend in better with your tree than a white one will.
To make turning the lights on and off easier, plug the lights into a power strip that has an on/off switch.
I start at the top of the tree and work my way down when I’m adding more strands of lights. If I had the patience, I would weave the lights from the center out and back on each branch, like the branches of the pre-lit part. But honestly, I don’t have that much patience, and the tree looks fine with the lights only on the outside of the tree. I do try to nestle the lights into the branches, so they’re not hanging just on the outer tips of the branches.
Step 3: Topper
After the lights are on the tree and before you start adding anything else, add a topper to the top of the tree. It’s easier to get closer to the tree when the garland and decorations aren’t on it yet.
I’ve had a star at the top of the tree for a few years, and it was fine. But this year I decided to make a new topper for our tree. I used some greenery picks that I already had, and added some new ones. I simply poked the picks into the tree at the top. Starting with the largest picks.
Around the bottom of the topper, I added some ribbon.
Step 4: Garland or ribbon
The next step is to add garland or ribbon. Start at the top of the tree and work down to the bottom going around the tree. I like to swag our garland on the branches as I go around the tree, but it’s not necessary.
Be sure to step back occasionally and look the whole tree.
Step 5: Ornaments
Now the fun starts! Add your ornaments. I like to start with the largest ornaments first. I have several sets of 4 of the same ornament. I start with those and work my way from the top of the tree to the bottom in a zig zag pattern. Hanging the same 4 ornaments, and then going on to the next set of ornaments.
Try to hang the ornaments towards the center of the tree, and not always on the outer tips of the branches. That will help to fill in some of the bare spaces.
After I have hung all of the large sets of ornaments then I hang the smaller ornaments. I like to hang these silver ornaments in towards the center of the tree. They act like mirrors and reflect the lights. The garland I use is also a shiny silver that reflects the lights.
Next, I like to hang all of the other ornaments we have, filling in the bare areas.
Step 6: Filler
After all of the ornaments are hung, then I like to add in a filler to the bare areas that are left. This year I added some flocked greenery with pine cones and berries that I found on sale at Hobby Lobby. I also added some pine cones that I spray painted silver.
Step 7: Tree skirt
After the tree is decorated, add a tree skirt to the base of the tree. You can find the tutorial for my tree skirt here. I also like to add some empty boxes that I’ve wrapped like presents for when we don’t have our real presents under the tree. There’s nothing sadder than a Christmas tree with no presents underneath it!
Then you’re done, and you can sit back and enjoy your beautiful Christmas tree!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this how to decorate a Christmas tree tutorial!
You may also like these Christmas decorating tutorials: